Lauderdale County, Miss. Three Lauderdale County men are behind bars after investigators say they were caught in the act and kept in place by the homeowner Tuesday.
Investigators this afternoon charged 35-year-old Kenneth Cunningham, 27-year-old David Covington and 20-year-old Corey Kell with burglary in the case. They were caught in the act by the homeowner, who happened to have his handgun on him.
Chief Deputy Ward Calhoun says the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department was called in about 3:30 Tuesday afternoon to a home on Fire Tower Road in Collinsville. When they arrived, the house's owner, Randy Smith, held all three of the attempted burglars at gunpoint.
"Individuals certainly have the right to protect themselves and their property," Chief Deputy Calhoun said. "In this case, the victim did what he believed was necessary to hold those individuals until law enforcement got there."
Smith says when he came home, he saw the three men parked behind his house with one standing on his deck. Covington, Cunningham and Kell tried to get away when they saw him, but Smith quickly brandished his pistol.
"I've been broken into once before," homeowner Randy Smith said. "I'm just tired of people stealing. I work too hard for what I've got, and for someone to just come in and steal it from me... Someone who's not working, just out there looking for somebody to rip off and steal from."
Smith says one of the men made a move toward him, but stopped short when he fired a shot into the air.
"One of them kind of just acted like he wanted to come around the car toward me. I fired in the air and told him to stop or the next one would be him," Smith said.
Afterward, all three waited for officers to arrive.
Many people think about crimes occurring at night, but Chief Deputy Calhoun says you should also be vigilant during the day because most burglaries, like this one, occur in broad daylight.
"In Lauderdale County, the vast majority of our property crimes, our burglaries, thefts, occur during the daytime. Typically, between eight or nine in the morning and early afternoon," Chief Deputy Calhoun explained.
Bond is set at $15,000 each for the trio.